Gold Beach running back Travis Wood, 22, dances down the sideline while an Oakland defender looks on from where he failed to make a tackle. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
The Gold Beach Panthers had points on the scoreboard before the Oakland Oakers had their pads on and their shoes laced, and were unrelenting in their drive to make it to a second straight OSAA 2A State Championship game.
“It’s awesome,” running back Travis Wood said. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to win by so much.”
Wood carried the ball 12 times for 106 yards and three of the Panthers’ touchdowns as they beat the Oakers 50-6 to advance to the finals against Scio High School on Saturday.
“We want Scio huge,” Wood said. “We’ve been working hard, going through and fixing each detail.”
“No one figured we’d be back here,” he added, “but we’ve been working hard and we’re going to state, baby!”
Head Coach Kevin Swift was happy with the win and was quick to add that the players have exceeded everyone’s expectations in reaching the final game.
“It’s kind of nice to see a group of kids overachieve. They haven’t done it with particular style, they just find a way to win,” he said. “I’m very proud of them. It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”
Quarterback Kipp Marstall averaged a little over six yards per carry, and added 12 points to the total with two touchdowns.
The only other Panther to reach the end zone was running back Kyle Johnston, who had 16 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers will face the Scio Loggers at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Cottage Grove High School.
The Panthers only put eight on the board in 2010 when they lost to the Loggers, 8-46, and hope to find some redemption in the final game this year.
“Ever since we lost against Scio we’ve been wanting revenge,” Marstall said.
Swift was a little more pragmatic.
“Someone has to play up,” he said. “It might as well be us.”